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Ongoing History Daily: Why does music move us?

The question of why humans love music has been studied by scientists for years.  What is it about music that moves us emotionally, physically and spiritually? 

According to researcher Philip Ball, it has to do with our brains’ need to seek and sort out patterns either accept them as pleasurable or reject them as noise.  And the brain can do that in milliseconds.  It’s pretty cool from both a neurochemical point of view and a physical one. 

But here’s the question: was the brain designed for music or is making music merely a by-product of the brain’s love for pattern recognition?  We don’t know.  But there’s certainly an instinctual component involved for everyone. 

Well, not everyone.  Those who are literally tone-deaf don’t have these certain pattern recognition capabilities.  The result?  Those people don’t like music at all.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38164 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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